|Star Wars: The Force Awakens
| We're playing through LEGO Force Awakens now and it put me in the mood to see the movie again. Watching it with the benefit of knowing the plot, this feels 1000% designed and planned to feel like a star wars movie. It's hard for me to say if the original trilogy felt that way since I was so young when they were implanted in my head... and i don't think it's a bad thing really, but I will say that the prequels didn't have that feeling to me. I feel like the prequels were just more stuff that Lucas felt like doing... adherence to the brand or canon or fans or anything like that took a far back seat to whatever it was that he felt like saying. Here, it almost feels like an amusement park ride in that it's SO calculated... but it works. There's new stuff too, mostly with the humor, and the new generation of characters feel just as cool and vibrant as the old ones did in the first few movies. I think they knocked it out of the park with Kylo Ren... he's powerful and menacing but also brash and impatient in a way that the prequels never pulled off with Anakin.
And I enjoyed Han Solo a lot more this time around. He's like the third lead in this film which is great for many reasons.
| Saw the new Star Wars. It kind of sucks that I feel my old man crabbiness coming on, but the truth of the matter is that I had no interest in opening night crowds. Furthermore, I probably should have seen this at an Alamo but didn't want to camp on the refresh button trying to get decent seats before they sold out in three seconds. So I thought maybe a weekday matinee at the Bullock IMAX would be reasonably civil while still allowing me a good chance at a positive screening. I didn't really see that IMAX was showing in 3D which was not ideal but oh well.
So, all that crap about how i hate leaving my house aside, I liked the movie a lot. I feel like every moviegoer shared a sigh of relief at it not sucking as we left the theater, although I did see two dudes high five each other which was pretty funny. I also sat next to a little boy which gave me a nice reminder of myself seeing Jedi. He was well behaved but started fidgeting when the old people on the screen talked for too long.
And you know... I think that's the most mixed-emotion-y part for me as well. On the one hand, you kind of HAVE to have Han Solo and Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker back if you're doing another Star Wars sequel, but on the other hand... they are all old and probably don't really care about acting anymore. That might be too harsh, but the general vibe I get from Harrison Ford is that he wants his money and for everyone to leave him alone these days, and I think Carrie Fisher had much more fun on the press tour for the film than actually making the movie. So I thought everything with the new cast was great, but aside from a few nostalgia uppercuts when you first see familiar faces, the original characters offered the most strained dialogue and acting. I kind of want to watch the original trilogy again to remind myself why Harrison Ford was so amazing to begin with. Granted, I feel like he actually worked for this movie which is more than can be said for anything in the last 15 years, but it's just not the same. His stuff felt off to me. Like... really? Han still has to deal with these trader dudes or whatever? And when I think about it I guess he would be... the script makes logical sense, but it's just weird to see the characters alive again.
That said, everything else felt excruciatingly designed to feel 100% Star Wars. It feels like JJ came in with a list of 80 things that he wanted to see in the movie and a list of 100 things that he wanted to NOT put in the movie and went from there. Also, the film feels like it's trying really really hard to fit into the mold, sometimes to the point of telegraphing plot. I don't really think this is a bad thing. I feel like the ancillary movies that are not "core" episodes will have license to play around with the formula a bit and present different viewpoints so there's nothing wrong with this being a most crystalline Star Wars structure, but still when a couple scenes started I immediately knew how they would end which was kind of a bummer because... they were bummer scenes and feel like they maybe didn't have to happen even though why am I even upset about it but still I am so whatever...
Anyway, All of this deconstruction aside, I really enjoyed myself. A few times I got major dopamine rushes as I felt The Force of a good Star Wars movie just like when I was a kid. And although the 3D mostly just meant an uncomfortable set of glasses pressing against my brow, the hint of depth during the air battles gave an extra little bit of excitement (mostly I look forward to seeing the 2D Blu at home though). And did I mention that I really liked all the new characters? Pretty much everyone was great. wtf is up with Oscar Isaac killing everything out of nowhere? Jesus.
So yeah. Major sigh of relief. It was really good. I really liked it. All is right with the world.